This week’s warm, sunny days have created perfect conditions for cutting and baling hay here at the farm. There is a reason for the phrase “make hay while the sun shines” – the sun is a key part of the process, and hay must be made only when the conditions are right. If the grass is cut and baled while it’s still damp we won’t have good quality hay to store.
So how do we make hay? First, we need to wait until the grass in our fields is ready to cut. Grass grows extremely quickly at this time of year, and when that growth is at its peak (usually just before the flower heads open) the grass should be cut to make the best hay. One of our tractors pulls a machine that cuts the tall grass close to the ground and turns it so the stalks can dry in the sun. After the grass is raked into rows, a baler attached to the same tractor rolls the hay high tightly together and binds it with baling twine. Each of the round bales we make can weigh 600 to 800 lbs!
After the bales are made, we lift them onto a truck and store them partially covered under a tarp. We use most of the hay to cover our 15 acres of strawberry fields for the winter so that the delicate plants are protected from the frost and ice. So making hay is a very important job here – and it can all be done with one farmer and a tractor!